An­cient Plov­div cel­e­brates as Euro­pean cul­ture cap­i­tal

Iran Daily - - Art & Culture -

Bul­garia’s south­ern city of Plov­div kicked off its year as a Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture with a lights and mu­sic show on a 30-me­ter high tower in the city cen­ter and fire­works that at­tracted hun­dreds late on Satur­day de­spite chilly weather.

One of the old­est in­hab­ited ci­ties in Europe with pre-his­toric set­tle­ments that arche­ol­o­gists date back over 8,000 years, an­cient Plov­div is the first Bul­gar­ian city to hold the ti­tle, Reuters re­ported.

Since it was se­lected in 2014 along with Italy’s Mat­era, the Balkan coun­try’s se­cond largest city has seen a rise in tourist vis­its and hopes for a fur­ther jump in 2019, bet­ting on its rich his­tory.

Plov­div, also known as the City of the Seven Hills, was held by Thra­cians, con­quered by Philip II of Mace­don, fa­ther of Alexan­der the Great, who gave it the name Philip­popo­lis.

It has been part of Ro­man, Bul­gar­ian, Byzan­tine and Ot­toman em­pires over the cen­turies.

In 2019, it hopes to at­tract about two mil­lion vis­i­tors to watch con­certs at its well pre­served 2nd cen­tury Ro­man the­atre or stroll along its cob­bled streets with its war­ren of ren­o­vated col­or­ful 19th cen­tury houses.

“Many peo­ple, in­ter­est­ing events are due. Our city is great and we are proud of it,” said 34-year-old ac­coun­tant Ve­selina Shek­erdzhieva with a wide smile. “There is lot to see here – the mu­se­ums, the ex­ca­va­tions, the hills them­selves,” she said.

In an­other his­toric ref­er­ence – the col­lapse of the Soviet rule in Eastern Europe – Plov­div is host­ing an open air ex­hi­bi­tion with orig­i­nal frag­ments of the Ber­lin Wall, painted by street artists in tribute to those who craved for free­dom and painted on the wall be­fore its fall in De­cem­ber of 1989.

Italy’s an­cient south­ern town of Mat­era, fa­mous for its Sassi — lime­stone cave dwellings — will host its open­ing fes­tiv­i­ties with some 2,000 lo­cal mu­si­cians next week.


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